The aims of this study were to explore the relationship between therapists' self-reported attachment styles and therapeutic orientation with the self-reported general therapeutic alliance and therapist-reported problems in psychological therapy.
A sample of 491 psychotherapists from differing therapeutic orientations responded to a postal questionnaire. The questionnaire contained standardized measures of therapeutic alliance quality, attachment behaviours, a checklist of problems in therapy, and a brief personality inventory.
Therapist-reported attachment styles generally explained a significant additional proportion of the variance in alliance and problems in therapy, over and above variance explained by general personality variables. Self-reported secure attachment style was significantly positively correlated with therapist-reported general good alliance. Self-reported anxious attachment styles were significantly negatively correlated with good alliance, and significantly positively correlated with the number of therapist-reported problems in therapy. Therapeutic orientation independently predicted a small but significant amount of the variance in reported general alliance quality in addition to that explained by attachment behaviours.